Monday, 29 August 2011

Welcome to my Mum’s house

Let me take you on a journey back in actual time between mid 1950’s – 1960’s it will in reality be like going back even further.   How much further – I’ll let you decide.
Imagine you are standing in front of a white painted farmhouse / cottage with 2 rooms (a living room and through on to a bedroom).   The living room area is thatched and the bedroom area is tiled.   There are 3 small windows across the front of the house.   I took my children to visit when they were wee and my son kept running in and out through the door which for him was the effect of passing through 2 FT thick walls into a much smaller world.   Certainly not ‘tardis-like’.
Straight ahead from the front door is an old fashioned dresser where the plates and other delftware lie on display.   Next to the dresser is a box bed covered with a thick red curtain which hangs down to the floor and the rings which hold the curtain up rattle when you open and close them.   This is my Grandfather’s bed and one which I remember being in as one summer holiday I was ill with mumps.   It was a treat though getting in the box bed which is side on to a huge fireplace.  
The fireplace is not just for keeping the house cosy it is also the cooker.   The back wall of the fire is painted silver (I now realise it reflected the heat outwards).     Hanging down the chimney is a huge chain onto which various shapes and sizes of black iron heavy pots and kettles are placed over a peat fire. The stewpot was straight out of the witches’ scene in Macbeth.   The pot used for bread making is much flatter and narrower.   I can remember my Aunt Lizzie baking bread and laying hot coals with long tongs on top of the lid at the end of the cooking time to crisp up the bread crust.   Along the outside window wall is a table and chairs and I’m sure some other bits and pieces.
Leading off from the living room through a door and down a couple of steps is the bedroom in which there is a couple of high old fashioned beds and a set of drawers.   Going back into the living room there is a door at the other end which leads into a space where things like scythes; rakes; tin bath and of course the butter churn are kept.
What have I left out – of course the sink where the washing is done?   What sink?   The water is hauled up from a local well every day and my memory fails me as to how far away it was but what I do remember is it being cold and sparkly.   Dishes are washed in a big enamel dish and clothes in the tin bath.   
There is one other amenity which you might be looking for as part of your visit – the toilet.   Ahhhh. Outside the house as you look to the left from the front door is the byre – and I don’t need to say anymore!
In this house my Mum grew up with her 5 sisters and 1 brother.

1 comment:

  1. I'm with you -absolutely!
    Interestingly, we've looked at a few properties around here that bear more than a passing resemblance to your mother's house in Ireland - inhabited until quite recently too. And I have found the people of Andalucia to be very like the Irish I have met thus far in my life.
    This is a brilliant, picture-painting start and I look forward to more - spin it out, I'm going to enjoy knitting this one up! Axxx


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